2015 Nationals

See, Download & Share Photos from 2015 Nationals

Nationals_cover Our collection of photos from the SCTP-SPP National Team Championships in Sparta and SCTP National Championships for International Disciplines in Colorado Springs have now been assembled on our Flickr page and are available for you to view, download, print, and share.

Click here to see our 2015 Nationals photos on Flickr

Even if you haven't used Flickr before, you'll probably find it pretty intuitive once you poke around a bit. However, here are a few notes to speed up the learning curve:
    The album will open to a collection of images on one page. If you want to look at an image in full-frame or to share or download it, just click on the image to open it. With any image opened, look for these icons in the lower right corner: Flickr icons If you wish to download the image, click on the icon on the right, the "down" arrow. What you're seeing on the page will usually be a much smaller version of the image, with several larger sizes available to be downloaded. You'll see some options: Flickr image sizes Just choose what you want. For a social media icon - or postage stamp - you might choose the 150x150 option. For a large print, go with the largest available size. To submit to your newspaper, download the largest available size to allow them to re-size it as needed. If you want to share the image in social media, click on the center icon, the "right" arrow, and again you'll have options and some choices to make: Flickr share For most purposes, such as sharing on Facebook or Twitter, you'll need to select "Link" as the Code option. If you want to embed the photo into your blog or website, you can choose "HTML." When that is the case, you will also have a choice of sizes.
If you choose to share images on social media (yes, do!), please continue to use the event hashtag, #SSSF2015.

Go to our Flickr page.

Stu Wright

There’s No Stopping Stu

Stu Wright Stu Wright is a man on a mission, and that mission is his 32 athletes here competing in the 2015 National Team Championships. Nothing is going to keep him from watching them take a run at the title…not even Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Stu is the head coach of the Pinckneyville Community High School shooting program. The owner of Wright’s, a gun shop he opened in the mid 70’s which caters to the clay target shooter, started his high school coaching career back in 2002 when he was asked to coach the school’s FFA squad. At the time there were just five shooters, enough for a competition squad. Today his program has 32 solid shooters competing in trap, skeet and sporting clays. Here at Nationals he has six seniors who have been with him from between four and seven years, and missing their final run at a national title isn’t something that he’s going to miss. On Thursday, the first day he could get out of bed after chemo, Stu made it to the World Shooting & Recreational Complex to watch his kids compete in sporting clays. He showed up not knowing where they stood or if they even had a chance at a title. When he found out how they were shooting, well, as Stu put it, “there’s no getting me out of here.” Led by senior Andy Opp, who was the only high school team shooter to post a perfect 100 on Wednesday and followed that up with 95 on Thursday to claim the individual High Overall title, PCHS Shooting Sports finished as the first place high school team, with 562, and second place among all teams. That made Thursday a very good day in Stu's book. Five months ago, back on February 6, Stu Wright learned he had cancer. On February 10 Andy and the rest of his team, the coaches and parents got the news, too. “It was rough getting the news but then everybody stepped up,” said Opp in describing how the close knit group took the news. Up until last year Stu Wright was the coach of the team, carrying most all of the responsibility with help from assistant coach Donny Nehring who coached the sporting clays shooters and traveled with the team to major events. But last year there were 22 team shooters and this year there are 32, a big jump for a community of just 2,500. Stu realized he needed help and built a team of assistant coaches for this season. “Now I have four fine guys that picked up the torch,” says Wright. And picking up the torch is exactly what was needed since February. Chemo takes a lot out of a person, even one with the drive and enthusiasm that Stu Wright seems to have an endless supply of. On those days, the bad days as Wright refers to them, he refuses to be around the kids because he doesn’t want his cancer to be their burden. Wright’s motto is ‘Fun With A Gun’ and that’s why he won’t get in the way of his kids’ fun with his cancer. Opp describes his coach as "one of a kind" and says, “Nobody’s going to be like Stu. He’s strict but fun and we always seem to be laughing.” Going into today’s American Trap finals, Stu’s kids, the boys from that small, tight community of Pinckneyville, Illinois, are ahead by 34 targets after breaking a 482 in their quest for the high school team title, making Coach Wright a very happy man. With no hope of hiding his pride in their first day’s performance Stu gushes, “That’s totally over our head.” And then he says of his cancer and recent round of chemo, “I have no side effects. I’m on top of the world and it doesn’t get any better than this.” And that's why there's no stopping Stu Wright.
Amber Rasmussen

Amber Rasmussen, Ironwoman

Amber Rasmussen Amber Rasmussen shoots a lot, something like 200 rounds a week during the season and about 5,000 rounds annually. She competes on the Union Grove Broncos Shooting Club team, out of Union Grove, Wisconsin, where her father, Wayne, is an assistant coach. She started out shooting trap in 8th grade, picked up sporting clays and skeet her sophomore year and added handicap and doubles trap her junior year. In her freshman year she also found time to shoot pistol. This past spring Amber graduated and is headed to Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where she plans to study physical therapy. This made her final round of trap at the National Team Championships a bit tough. “I started crying before my last round and by the time I was done I was a mess,” said the 18 year old describing her last day shooting in the Scholastic Clay Target Program with her high school team. While her Union Grove career came to an end, for Amber it most certainly did not go gentle into that good night as Dylan Thomas might note. No, Amber went out with a bang – over 1,000 of them the be specific. Amber, along with her fellow Union Grove teammate Michael Kopecki, are members of a small group here at the nationals that compete in every championship event. She took on sporting clays, skeet, trap, doubles trap and handicap trap shooting 200 targets in each. In doubles trap she finished 3rd Ladies Varsity in individual competition helping her team take 4th place. She also shot 100 rounds in the Scholastic Pistol Program event. And, she even faced off in Friday night’s Last Competitor Standing shoot were, facing off against several hundred shooters, she managed to win a $1,000 scholarship courtesy of the NRA. At the end of a long, hot week of competition, Amber was thankful her Union Grove team shot as much as it did through the year. But as for the reason for shooting so many events Amber pulls no punches, declaring emphatically, "Because I can."

Young Women Make Up 18.4% Of Athletes At Nationals

SSSFd1-Open-65 A 2013 research report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation entitled Analysis of Sport Shooting Participation in the U.S. 2008-2012 found that not only were new shooters likely to be younger with 66% falling in the 18-to-34-year-old age group, but they were also likely to be female. NSSF’s findings showed that 37% of new target shooters were women. Looking around the grounds of the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta, Illinois, it’s clear that young women are a fast growing segment of both the Scholastic Clay Target Program and the Scholastic Pistol Program. At this year’s National Team Championships those young ladies with shotguns slung over their shoulders, and those with a pistol tucked away in their range bag, make up 18.4% of the total 2,800-plus athletes in attendance. Among the 2,466 shotgunners they are 17.6% while on the pistol ranges they account for nearly a quarter (24.3%) of the 345 competitors. Gender Participation If the broad smiles exhibited during Wednesday night’s Opening Ceremony are any indication, the number of young female athletes participating in the shooting programs of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation is likely to grow.  

Trap, It’s A Family Thing

Carter-Kramer-2 Carter Kramer only started shooting trap this past October. But the 12 year old from Quincy, Illinois, was already an active hunter. And while he hunted duck, dove and rabbit whenever the opportunity arose, he has fallen hard for those small orange clay disks. “I love it because it’s a challenge,” said Carter about his foray into trap. And it’s a challenge the young shooter continues to rise to. Though very new to trap he has already logged his first 25 straight, and yesterday, armed with a Remington 870 Wingmaster, Carter added another 87 targets to his career total when he and the rest of his Quivering Clays team shot their first 100 of the SCTP American Trap Team Championship. Though his first 50 still alludes him, Carter is determined to reach that next trap milestone and move on to his first 100 straight this year. Kramer Young athletes like Carter don’t get into trapshooting, and all the way to Sparta, Illinois, and the National Team Championships, without some family support. And for the Kramer family, it’s not just some support but a lot. Carter’s father Dan started shooting clay targets at the age of 9 using an old spring loaded hand trap and is happy to see his oldest son getting into the sport. Younger brother Austin, 10, is ready to join Carter on the shooting line next year while 5 year old brother Kayden is still a couple years away from joining the Kramer squad. The Kramers road tripped south to Sparta in force. Joining dad and the boys are mom, granddad and, of course, grandma Donna Lohmeyer who helps herd the boys when Carter isn’t shooting and the sights and sounds of a bustling national championship venue seem to pull them in every direction all at once. Clearly trapshooting is, indeed, a family event.

Top Ten SSSF Team Endowments

SSSFd1-Open-66Getting a shooting team up and running can take a bite out one’s wallet. But the cost isn’t much different than what families with competitive football, baseball or soccer players face. They all have equipment costs, training fees and, of course, travel expenses. Fortunately for those competing in the shooting sports there is help. Through the MidwayUSA Foundation, which was started by MidwayUSA owners Larry and Brenda Potterfield, several teams have built up small war chests to fund their shooting. In fact, you’d be surprised how much some have raised. To make it into the top ten teams based on the amount raised you’d have to start at the $400,000 mark. The top five all have over a half million in the bank. And most amazing of all is the amount the Massachusetts Shooters Foundation Junior Programs has raised. Their account is in excess of $1.2 million. Top Ten Larry Gay, who coaches the Oskaloosa Shooting Team from a small faming community in Iowa, has 43 kids on his team with 20 of them competing in the 2015 National Team Championships in Sparta, Illinois. He also has over $515,000 in his endowment fund. It took the team only about a year to raise $480,000 and now the size of the team’s fund allows them to draw as much as $25,000 annually to help cover travel expenses, which has been crucial to their ability to compete at competitions like the Nationals and the upcoming International Trap Nationals in Colorado Springs. In addition to their draw the team raises another $15,000 to $20,000 each year thanks to the strong support of their community where several business and individuals step forward to assist the team. But it’s the endowment structure that has been the key to maintaining the team. “The MidwayUSA Foundation’s endowment program is extremely important to us because travel is ungodly expensive,” explained Coach Gay whose team competes two to three times a month during the season. “Our endowment helps underwrite those costs so parents don’t have to carry the full burden of sending the team to Nationals or Colorado.” To find out more about the MidwayUSA Foundation’s programs visit www.midwayusafoundation.org.

Top Five States At The 2015 Nationals

SSSF-States Participation at the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation's 2015 National Team Championships is broad reaching with 28 states represented. Nearly three quarters (74.1%) of the 2,800+ shooters come from just five states. Here's how athletes from the SSSF's Big 5 break out. Tennessee (25.3%) The Volunteer State accounts for 25.3% of all athletes with 601 competing in SCTP (24.4%) and 109 (31.6%) in SPP. Illinois (18.6%) The home of the World Shooting & Recreational Complex, the Land of Lincoln sent 484 (19.6%) of shotgunners and 40 (11.6%) of the pistol competitors. Wisconsin (14.9%) The Badger State athletes came to shoot with 371 (15.0%) in SCTP and 47 (13.6%) in SPP. Iowa (8.1%) The Hawkeye State rolled in with 200 (8.2%) of the SCTP athletes and 29 (8.4%) of those in SPP. Missouri (7.2%) The Show-Me State showed up with 202 (8.2%) SCTP competitors, and despite not having any shooters in the SPP Nationals they still hold down fifth overall on this list. SCTP-SPP States

A Personal Best…10 Times

SSSFd3-16 Coach Rick Leach of the Ozaukee Scholastic Shooting Sports (Wisconsin) had a lot to be happy about this morning. Coming off the Scholastic Pistol Program ranges his team of 13 shooters finished the match strong. Real strong. After going over the times, and double checking his math, Coach Leach confirmed that 10 of his 13 athletes had shot new personal records, and at the best possible time too, during the National Team Championships. While each was a significant accomplishment both for the team and its coach, Leach couldn’t conceal his pride in the fact that one of those record times was that of his daughter Mikaela, who three years ago shot over 400 seconds at her first Nationals and was hoping this year to just break 100. She finished this morning’s match with a time of 87.95 seconds. Mikaela, who had already competed in the Sporting Clays and Skeet Nationals – where she also shot a personal best – is out on the trap fields competing in her fourth Nationals this week, the American Trap Team National Championship. She freely admits to having what she calls “a gun powder addiction.” Of course she couldn’t leave the pistol range without first reporting in to Ed Fitzgerald of Glock. Fitzgerald was there in 2013 when she first shot the Nationals and jumped in with some much needed shooting advice when Mikaela was struggling and missing more than she was hitting. So you could say he’s a little invested in Mikaela’s success and was happy to hear how her match went today…and it didn’t hurt that she blew through her sub 100 second goal with a Glock model 34 pistol. SSSFd3-17
college recruiter

Being Recruited For College

college recruiter For many college bound competitive shooters, finding a school with a collegiate shooting sports program can be a challenge, let alone one offering scholarships. Finding lists of the top football programs, top engineering schools or which small liberal arts college has the most graduates in public service is easy. Hunting down a list of schools that are actively recruiting into their shooting programs is a bit tougher. However, for the last five years the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation has been working to bridge the gap between its 12,000 plus high school shooters and collegiate programs around the country by including a college recruiting component at the National Team Championships. At this year's Nationals in Sparta, Illinois, there are easily a dozen colleges and universities on hand talking to kids in the language they understand – the language of guns. "With so many high school athletes coming through the ranks of the SCTP and SPP, it's only natural for them to seek out shooting sports opportunities at the collegiate level. Parents and athletes meet face-to-face with recruiters here at Nationals, helping them find a school that best fits their educational needs while allowing them to continue their shooting career," said Ben Berka, executive direct of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation. In attendance at this year's collegiate recruitment day are Arizona State University, Hillsdale College, University of the Ozarks, Midland University, Missouri S&T University, Hawkeye Community College, Fort Hays State University, Concordia University, Jacksonville University, University of Iowa, Bethel University and Lindenwood. If you would like more information on these and other schools with collegiate shooting programs, please contact SSSF.

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The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to providing shooting-sports education and opportunities to school-age youths around the United States to encourage young athlete personal growth and development.
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